Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Space Vampire in the Mumbai Disco

February 14th, 2017 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.


Blindsight (Fiction, Peter Watts, 2006) A spaceship crewed by near-transhumans and commanded by a vampire makes first contact in the Oort Cloud while parrying the aliens’ incursion. The genetic reconstruction of an extinct human subspecies of vampires is only about the fifth-wildest concept herein, but it should get you through the door of this classic-style ideas-and-aliens hard SF novel. –KH

Disco Dancer (Film, India, Babbar Subhash, 1982) Now that he’s a rising star as a disco singer/guitarist, a former street musician returns to Mumbai to avenge the false imprisonment of his mother. Simultaneously an exuberant backstage musical and a bloody revenge actioner, in no way contaminated by subtlety. Kooky costumes! Blazing Bollywood funk! Star-crossed romance!  Class consciousness! Unremitting melodrama! Jarring transitions! Separate musical numbers in praise of Krishna and Jesus! A quasi-cover of “Video Killed the Radio Star!” Bump down a notch if you don’t think this is the sort of thing that ought to be 135 minutes long.—RDL

The Locket (Film, US, John Brahm, 1946) A traumatic childhood incident leaves an outwardly poised and charming woman (Laraine Day) with a penchant for jewelry theft and murder, bringing woe to a string of men. Delightfully outre neo-Freudian noir melodrama told in flashbacks within flashbacks.—RDL

Loving (Film, US, Jeff Nichols, 2016) Interracial husband and wife Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga) struggle to lead ordinary, quiet lives together, which in their home state of Virginia in 1958 is a criminal offense. Subtly engaging biopic succeeds at the tough task of centering a film narrative around undemonstrative protagonists whose goal is to simply be left alone.—RDL


Monsieur Lecoq (Fiction, France, Émile Gaboriau, 1868) Brilliant yet unseasoned policeman investigates the mysterious prisoner behind a wine-shop triple murder, aided by a determined magistrate and an admiring older sidekick. I guess if you invent the police precinct crime novel 90 years before Ed McBain it’s churlish of us to expect you to figure out endings, too. Until then, redolent with then-contemporary Parisian grit and detail.—RDL


The Accountant (Film, US, Gavin O’Connor, 2016) “High-functioning autistic” accountant (Ben Affleck) built into a killing machine for some reason by his protective father obsessively-compulsively solves a tricky corporate embezzlement problem by murdering his way to the embezzler, who is protected by his own murder team headed by a delightful Jon Bernthal. Also a Treasury agent is hunting Affleck because he works for organized crime and terrorists, but he’s the good guy because he saves Anna Kendrick. Even without the iffy “autism as superpower” thing this movie would be a mess, and only Affleck’s war-against-himself performance (and the suspicion that a real-life Batman would look way more like this guy) holds it together at all. –KH

Phoenix (Film, Germany, Christian Petzold, 2014) After reconstructive surgery to repair injuries suffered in a death camp renders her unrecognizable, a woman who refuses to believe that her husband denounced her to the Nazis seeks him out in Berlin. Twisty melodramatic premise belied by in an overly austere, emotionally withholding directing style.—RDL

Not Recommended

Fury (Film, US, David Ayer, 2014) Traumatized tank crew consisting of gruff sergeant (Brad Pitt), raw recruit (Logan Lerman), preacher man (Shia LaBeouf), meathead (Jon Bernthal), and ethnic guy (Michael Peña) push into Germany during the final desperate days of WWII. The first two acts of war horror would be quite something if they were more than just stake-setting for a third-act shift into ridiculous heroics.—RDL

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Film, US, Edward Zwick, 2016) Reacher (Tom Cruise) takes a break from walking the land righting wrongs when his contact in the Army’s Military Police (Cobie Smulders) is arrested on trumped-up treason charges. You’ll never guess why: corrupt military contractors! Do they start killing everyone around the case while ineptly threatening Reacher? You bet! Also he needlessly endangers his possible daughter (Danika Yarosh) who then needlessly endangers herself some more. Also there is running and some dull fights. Cruise intentionally mutes his charisma as Reacher, leaving nothing here to surprise or interest anyone who has seen more than three thrillers in their life. –KH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
Flying Clock
Film Cannister